A qEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalogram) is a diagnostic tool that measures electrical activity in the form of brain wave patterns. It is sometimes referred to as “brain mapping.”
A Closer Look Into Brain Waves
Brain waves are the rhythmic electrical impulses generated when the millions and millions of neurons inside your head communicate with each other. Brain waves can reveal important information about your overall brain function, including stress levels, thought patterns, and emotions. A qEEG can reveal brain wave patterns that are associated with impulsivity, anxiety, and other symptoms.
Generally speaking, there are 5 types of brain wave patterns:
• Delta brain waves (1 to 4 cycles per second): very slow brain waves, occurring mostly during sleep
• Theta brain waves (5 to 7 cycles per second): slow brain waves, occurring during daydreaming, relaxation, and twilight states
• Alpha brain waves (8 to 12 cycles per second): brain waves occurring during relaxed states
• SMR (sensorimotor rhythm) brain waves (12 to 15 cycles per second): brain waves occurring during states of focused relaxation
• Beta brain waves (13 to 24 cycles per second): fast brain waves occurring during concentration or mental work states
My Neu Mind utilizes the most current comprehensive system of brain wave delineation,
BMAN'S EEG Band* Definitions and Amplitude Relations.
BMAN'S EEG BANDS:
• Delta brain waves (0 to 4 cycles per second): internal focus, deactivation, identity, self awareness, sleep
• Theta brain waves (4 to 8 cycles per second): internal focus, diffuse focus, deactivation, emotional awareness, creativity
• Alpha brain waves (8 to 12 cycles per second): both internal & external focus, idling, rejuvenating, peaceful, calm, relaxed Beta 1 brain waves (12 to 16 cycles per second): narrow external focus (mild), activation (mild)
• Beta 2 brain waves (16 to 20 cycles per second): narrow external focus (moderate), activation (moderate), vigilant
• Beta 3 brain waves (20 to 24 cycles per second): narrow external focus (hyper), activation (hyper), hyper vigilant
• Beta 4 brain waves (24 to 28 cycles per second): narrow external focus (intense), decreased self-awareness, external locus of control (intense)
• Beta 5 brain waves (28 to 32 cycles per second): narrow external focus (extreme), decreased self-awareness, external locus of control (extreme)
• Gamma 1 brain waves (32 to 36 cycles per second): Regulates all bands
• Gamma 2 brain waves (36 to 40 cycles per second): Regulates all bands
• Gamma 3 brain waves (40 to 44 cycles per second): Regulates all bands
• Gamma 4 brain waves (44 to 48 cycles per second): undefined
•Gamma 5 brain waves (48 to 52 cycles per second): undefined
*BMANS: Brownback, Mason and Associates Neurofeedback System
HOW QEEG CAN HELP
A qEEG is a very valuable component of the comprehensive evaluation. It helps understand the cortical electrical activity in the brain. It can show if activity in the brain is too high or too low, and it can reveal how your brain cells are communicating with each other. It can be helpful in many ways, including:
• Identifying cognitive and psychiatric problems
• Showing how your brain wave patterns can be improved
• Providing valuable information in creating a personalized treatment plan (which may include neurofeedback to help balance your brain
• Tracking your progress with different therapies and treatments
• Providing objective information used to create your personalized neurofeedback program
In conjunction with Comprehensive Neurodiagnostic Checklist (CNC), qEEG gives us information about how your brain functions and can be used for baseline information as well as to track progress with treatment. We can use the information from qEEG as a guide to determine the most effective solutions to help you change your brain and improve your memory, boost focus and attention, reduce depression, minimize anxiety, and enhance overall performance.
WHAT RESEARCH SHOWS ABOUT QEEG
There are literally thousands of research studies on qEEG for a wide variety of clinical indications, including memory problems, anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), ADD/ADHD, and processing issues in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For example:
• A distinctive brain wave pattern is associated with depression.
• Researchers have used qEEG to distinguish depression from other conditions, such as dementia, schizophrenia, and alcoholism.
• Memory issues typically show up as too much theta or too much delta activity
• Children and adults with ADD/ADHD tend to have high theta and delta brain wave activity, and kids and adolescents with ADD/ADHD tend to have lower beta brain wave activity compared those who don’t have the condition.
Dr. Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee has conducted a lot of research on brain wave underactivity in children with ADD/ADHD. In published research using qEEG, Dr. Lubar demonstrated that children with one phenotype of ADD/ADHD had excessive slow brain wave activity in the front part of their brain, which worsened when they tried to concentrate.
Dr. Lubar also demonstrated that many children can develop more normal brain wave patterns—and therefore improved focus and behavior—through neurofeedback. You can find out more about neurofeedback here, but briefly, it has been found to enhance memory, focus, and mental clarity; decrease impulsivity and anxiety; improve moods; boost academic performance, and lead to more restful sleep.
IS QEEG SAFE?
QEEG is noninvasive, painless, and safe to use. The electrodes in the cap that are placed on the scalp are like a “read-only” program that receives signals from the brain. The electrodes do not alter brain activity in any way; they simply reveal areas where brain wave activity is healthy, underactive, or overactive.